Sunday 28 May 2017

Since when did stiff upper lip become a bad thing?

Joe Brolly's column caused controversy this week
Joe Brolly's column caused controversy this week
Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

It wouldn’t be normal week in Irish life if Joe Brolly didn’t cause consternation in some circles. But for once the Northern motor mouth can be forgiven for wondering what he did wrong.

In his most recent column in the ‘Sunday Independent’, Brolly mentioned that he had recently volunteered with a local under-10 in a final which they lost: “At the final whistle, their coach, my old friend Giles McNicholl, danced across to his troops punching the air with delight, and why wouldn’t he? Our lads, meanwhile, were all sobbing like contestants on The X Factor until I snapped at them, ‘Quit yapping, boys, it’s embarrassing’. At which point the tears were switched off.”

That’s a common sight across every pitch across the land at the weekend – a bunch of kids lose an important match and when they’re upset, the coach gets them to man up. It has happened to all of us at that age and nobody feels a sense of deep injustice quite like a kid who has just had victory snatched from them. But good underage coaches know that there is far more to their job than merely imparting tactics, it’s also about teaching invaluable life lessons.

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